Now that Thanksgiving and Christmas have past, everyone is putting the pumpkin and sweet potato recipes back in the file boxes. There were yummy pumpkin and sweet potato pies topped with whipped cream, pumpkin loaves and rolls, pumpkin squares and marshmallow-topped sweet potato casseroles. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of pumpkin and sweet potato recipes.
Sweet Potato Fries
Although most consider sweet potato and pumpkin recipes to be seasonal dishes, garden-grown sweet potatoes are available all year. Lots of folks enjoy just tossing one in the microwave for a sweet and healthy treat. They have become increasingly popular for making a healthier alternative to french fries. Like other sweet potato dishes, there are several variations. The sweet potatoes can be julienned (cut into thin strips), cut fat or cubed for sweet potato home fries.
My Sweet Potato Home Fries Recipe
The first time I had sweet potato home fries, I was teaching at a technology academy that had a culinary arts department. The students sometimes fixed gourmet meals for the staff and sold them dirt cheap. Their sweet potato fries were cubed and cooked home style. I remember that there were onions and bacon bits in those yummy things, but there was a gourmet flavor that I just loved.
I set out to re-create the flavor and eliminate the bacon for a healthier, yet still delicious version. After some thinking and experimenting, I came up with the following recipe for sweet potato home fries.
I used olive oil and a little butter rather than the bacon. Lemon juice adds a tang to the flavor, and a dusting of sea salt, sugar and cayenne pepper completes the gourmet flavor for these tasty sweet potato home fries morsels.
Ingredients For Sweet Potato Home Fries
2-3 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup olive olive
2 TBS lemon juice
1 TMS sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
Sweet potato home fries are great to add to a healthy dinner like lemon rosemary chicken or salmon dishes. They make a good alternative to potatoes, pasta and other starches. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin B-6, which is known to break down homocysteine, a substance that causes hardening of the arteries. They are chock-full of beta-carotene, or vitamin A, a potent cancer-fighting antioxidant. Sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of vitamins C,E and manganese. Manganese has been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels. Eat more sweet potatoes!
Coastal dwellers love anything with a ‘beachy’ look. At Christmastime, you are likely to find beach-themed Christmas ornaments and other nautical decorations in their homes.
However, these days you don’t have to live by the sea to enjoy beach-themed decor. Even folks in Kansas can incorporate a nautical theme thanks to online ordering. These beachy ornaments will help you achieve a nautical look for your holiday decor.
If you live near the beach or take vacations there, be sure to comb the beach and the shops for shells to make ornaments next Christmas.
Santa From the Sea
Starfish are generally hard to find on most beaches, and if you do find one that is still alive, tossing it back to sea is a good thing to do. They can be found in souvenir shops at the beach and ordered on line.
The star fish Santa is painted with red and white acrylic paints. His belt and boots are black. He has a foil belt buckle. Paint his face pink after the beard and hat have dried. Then,when the face has dried, attach tiny wiggly eyes and a red pom pom nose with hot glue. Add a white pom pom to Santa’s hat.
Oyster Shell Ornaments
Finding Oyster Shells
Oyster shells are harder to find for the in-lander. Islanders can find them scattered abundantly on the beach. One place you can find them is at restaurants that serve oysters. However, the green thing to do these days is to send the shells back to oyster farms where they are used to grow new crops of oysters. The ones lying sun-bleached on the beach are best to use. Otherwise, they must be soaked for a while in a solution of bleach and water.
Oyster Shell Santa
There is something about the shape of an oyster shell that lets us paint a Santa face. Paint the bottom white for a beard . Red paint and a pom pom completes Santa’s hat. Glue on small wiggly eyes, red pom pom nose and a white Santa hat pom pom.
Golden Oyster Shell Ornament
The golden oyster shell ornament is a breeze to make and looks very elegant. Larger oyster shells have differing, interesting shapes.Simply spray some with gold spray paint. Then just attach a fancy bow with hot glue and add an ornament hanger. How easy is that!
Sand Dollar Ornaments
Finding Sand Dollars
Sand dollars are my favorite find in beach combing. They are harder to find that oyster shells but easier than star fish. On the beach, they are usually buried underneath the sand just at the shore line. They will need to be bleached for ornament making. Sand dollars can be bought by the dozens in seaside souvenir shops and on-line. They are very inexpensive.
Sand dollars have a natural imprint on them that resembles a flower with five petals. Turn this into a poinsettia, or Christmas flower with acrylic paint. A rim of glitter adds some bling. Spraying them with clear Krylon will give them a glossy look and help protect from breakage.
Clear Fill-able Ornaments
Clear fill-able ornaments can be purchased at craft shops or ordered on-line.These can be used to make pretty ornaments with things found on the beach. Believe it or not, beach sand can actually be ordered, but it has to be bought in bulk. The lowest amount is 25 pounds. You will want to get white craft sand from a craft supply store. Better yet, the next time you get to visit the beach, get a little sand in your shell-collecting bucket along with some tiny shells. Then you will have what you need to make a pretty beach–scape ornament.
Sea Glass Ornament
Sea glass is old broken glass that has been tossed and churned about for many years. It is smooth and has a frosty look. Some sea glass is rare, and its rarity is determined by color. Green, white and brown are the most common. Red, blue, amber, orange and some shades of green are rare.
Sea glass is a hobby for some people, and it is much sought after. Authentic sea glass can be ordered, but it is rather pricey. Fortunately for me, I have my own collection of sea glass that I have collected over time.
Sea glass can also be made artificially by a special tumbling process that gives it the frosty look of real sea glass. Craft grade sea glass is available on-line and in craft supply stores. Fill a clear ornament with some sea glass, authentic or manufactured. Tie it on the tree with a pretty green ribbon.
Simple Nautical Wreath
All it takes is two natural grapevine wreaths, shells, starfish and some Christmas ribbons to make these simple yet nautical wreaths. Or just make one! Just hot glue your beach finds to the wreaths. Add long, long ribbons. Or just make one!
Rudolph the Red-nosed Palm Bark
Spray a piece of palm bark with clear acrylic for a little shine. Then just glue on huge googly eyes and a big red pom pom.
Homemade Ornaments, Gifts and Party Favors to Make For Christmas
Celebrate the Season of Joy! Make pretty Christmas crafts with these homemade Christmas craft ideas.Use these ideas for ornaments, give them out for party favors, or use them as special homemade gifts.
Ideas are included for younger and older children. Even adult crafters will enjoy some of these Christmas craft ideas. They don’t require a lot or preparation,and the materials used are easy to obtain and inexpensive. So get out the craft box and add some homemade fun to the holiday.
Christmas Crafts for Younger Kids
Craft Stick Christmas Ornaments
Craft sticks can be used to make really cute ornaments. Craft sticks are merely Popsicle sticks or tongue depressors. You don’t have to save them up. They can be bought by the box in the crafts department. Turn them into refrigerator magnets by gluing magnets on the back. These inexpensive magnets can be purchased in the craft section of department stores. Moms and grandmothers will cherish these ornaments and magnets year after year.
There is no cutting involved with craft stick ornaments. Little kids can do a lot on their own. They get a sense of self accomplishment and the ornaments look quite impressive.
How to Make a Rudolph Craft Stick Ornament
There are different versions to this craft. Use the narrow Popsicle size for one and the wider, tongue depressor size for another. Paint sticks brown or leave natural. Twigs can be antlers or antlers can be the tips of the craft sticks
You will need:
craft sticks, either size
ribbon or hanger
small red pompoms
How to make:
paint sticks if preferred, or leave natural
let dry and glue into a triangle shape
leave some of the two side craft sticks over-lapping the top to form antlers. (or glue without the over-lap and glue on twig antlers.
add ribbon, yarn or cold cord for a hanger.
How to Make a Snowflake Ornament
You will need:
Popsicle-size craft stick
white poster or acrylic paint and paint brushes
clear plastic crystal beads
yarn or silver cord for a hanger
How to make:
paint the six craft sticks white
allow to dry
glue on clear beads with white clear-drying glue
add a hanger
How to Make a Sweet Gum Ball Ornament
Very safe for young children to make, older crafters will enjoy this project as well. Sweet gum ball homemade Christmas ornaments will add a touch of nature to the tree. Sweet gum balls are plentiful in late fall and early winter. Just search the ground underneath the sweet gum trees.
You will need:
sweet gum balls
wooden tooth picks
How to make:
stick a toothpick in each hole around the sweet gum ball. use a dab of glue to help anchor it.
paint sweet gum ball and toothpicks white
shake on silver glitter while the paint is still wet
Dry and glue on a piece of ribbon or yarn for a hanger
How to Make a Reindeer Hand Print Keepsake
You will need:
brown craft foam (construction paper may also be used)
brown finger paint
large-size wiggly eyes
medium to large red pom pom
How to make:
cut a large triangle from the craft foam or paper
child makes hand prints with paint on white paper
cut out hand prints and glue on for antlers
add a fringe of brown paper to the forehead
glue on eyes and nose
Christmas Crafts for Older Kids to Make
Older kids and adults like to make ornaments and party favors. They look for ornament ideas that will make good gifts for friends’ Christmas trees. They can also help younger kids make things. For example, the candy cane reindeer are great for kids to pass out at school. They can also be hung on the tree or put in stockings. Older kids and adults can help with the gluing.
How to Make Candy Cane Reindeer Party Favors
What you need:
wrapped candy canes
small pom poms
small wiggly eyes
brown chenille stems
How to make:
hot glue eyes and nose on candy cane
cut chenille stem in half
bend stem to form an antler
glue on two antlers
How to Make a Recycled Light Bulb Santa Ornament
You Will Need:
burned out light bulb
small wiggly eyes
yarn or ribbon for the hanger
small red pompom
medium-size white pompom
How to Make:
paint the top part of the light bulb red
glue on the wiggly eyes
add a red pom pom nose
paint on rosy pink cheeks and red mouth
glue cotton on the bottom part of the bulb for a beard
form eyebrows and moustache from cotton and glue in position
glue on ribbon for a hanger
How to Make a Fan Ornament
The secret to making this pretty fan ornament lies in the measuring, folding, trimming and gluing techniques. Use these colors or others. Gold, pink and white would look pretty.
What you need:
metallic gift wrap
colored tissue gift wrap (in two colors)
card stock (an old file folder works)
How to make:
begin by cutting three 4″ x 5″ inch pieces of metallic wrap
fold each piece accordion (fan) style
trim the ends so that each pleat will be even
open up and put a dab of hot glue between each pleat at the bottom only
lay aside. repeat process for two pieces of tissue the same size.
use white glue, not hot glue for gluing the tissue wrap pleats
cut one longer rectangle in the second color, 4″ x 7″.
fold and glue in the same fashion
next, it is time to glue the fan pieces together
then cut a card stock strip only as long and wide as the fan
glue the fan to the strip with hot glue. trim as needed
add lace, bows and a bead with hot glue
important: use hot glue when gluing tissue to metallic wrap sparingly. use white glue for gluing tissue wrap to tissue wrap
How to Make a Pot of Pinwheel Poinsettias
The poinsettia flower has been used in Christmas decorating for a long time. These poinsettias won’t shed or need special care. They are made of paper using a basic pinwheel cut-an-fold as illustrated. These can be left plain if preferred, but I like to use glitter on mine to add some bling. Try other colors like pink and white. Pinwheel poinsettias can be placed on mantels, table tops or shelves or “planted” in a planter. Coordinate the tissue wrap with the poinsettia colors.
What you need:
red and green construction paper
red and green tissue wrap
three wooden dowels
green acrylic paint
light green and yellow tissue
gold, red and green glitter
small plastic planting pot
How to make:
paint the wooden dowels green
set aside to dry
cut half of a sheet of 9″ x 11″ of red and green paper for each poinsettia
“square off” the paper by folding and cutting as shown(you should have a perfect square that is 5 and 7/8th inches on each side
Fold in marked corners to the middle and glue to secure
Make a red and green pinwheel for each flower
Attach together with the red pinwheel on top and turned at an angle so the green pinwheel shows
glue wads of light green and yellow tissue in the center
make a “wash” with part white glue to part water
using a paint brush apply the wash to petals and the flower’s center
quickly sprinkle red glitter on red petals and green glitter on green petals
sprinkle gold glitter to the flowers center
If making into a planter, hot glue the poinsettias to the wooden dowel.
Place in planter with floral foam and cover planter with red, pink or white tissue wrap
Cute Christmas cupcakes mean so much to kids during the holidays. Mothers bake and decorate them to send to school, church bazaars, kid”s parties or just to have them at home.
The possibilities for cupcake decorating ideas for kids are limited only by the imagination and what decorating items you can find. Fortunately, at this time of year, grocery and department stores are well stocked with things to help with your Christmas cupcakes.
Past Christmas Cupcake Decorating
I was a little disappointed when I couldn’t find some of the things I have used in the past for Christmas cupcake recipes. Those strands of little candy canes in cellophane seem to not exist anymore. I have yet to find any ‘reindeer corn.’ Reindeer corn, which is green,red and white candy corn makes cute Christmas cupcakes. Just ice the cupcake and form a flower with it in the center. Tiny candy canes and red and green sprinkles used to be a tradition for my Christmas cupcake decorating.
New Items for Creative New Cupcakes
There are newer candies available that save the day for kid’s Christmas cupcakes. We used Rips, which are squares of red and green licorice candy, mini M&Ms, decorating gels and colorful sprinkles.
The kids are out of school for a long break. Schedule an afternoon of fun by decorating Christmas cupcakes with them. It is a good way to help them develop their creativity. Bake and ice the cupcakes, then set out some of these sprinkles, gels and other colorful candies. The kids will enjoy decorating, eating and sharing their creations.
Here are some inspirations to get you started.
Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer Cupcake
Ice cooled cupcakes with your favorite chocolate frosting. Form the muzzle with a vanilla wafer and add a red M&M nose. The eyes are blue mini M&Ms. The antlers are added with mini pretzels. Use chocolate piping to outline a mouth and add pupils to the eyes .
tip: Just put some frosting in a plastic baggie and cut a small slit at the tip on the bottom. Then squeeze on the piping.
Santa’s Hat Cupcake
For the Santa’s hat, use red icing that is bought in tubes. It is impossible to tint white frosting red with food dye. It will just turn pink. Frost the cupcake first and then carefully frost a small ice cream cone. Invert the cone on the cupcake. Add mini-marshmallow fur and a pom pom at the tip.
The red and green licorice squares have a shimmery sugar coating that makes a lovely poinsettia. Use kitchen shears to trim the petals from the pieces. Use a yellow mini M&M for the flower’s center.
Abstract Design Tree Cupcake
The abstract Christmas tree design is easy to achieve with a tube of green cake decorating gel. Add round dot sprinkles to represent the ornaments.
Have fun with Christmas cupcake decorating ideas for kids. You will create memories for a lifetime that they will in turn pass on.
Some people seem to just be naturally more organized than others. Perhaps it has to do with how they grew up.Maybe it is just the way their brain is wired.Perhaps some people are just too rushed to keep their act together. One thing is for certain. Life is much easier for the organized person. This is especially true for teachers. Teachers must make dozens of decisions daily. Hundreds of thoughts will pass through the teacher’s mind from bell to bell. For a teacher, staying organized is pretty much a matter of survival.
Can organization skills be learned? Of course they can! And role-modeling is the best teacher of all. Here are 12 tricks to keep you and your students better organized. I call them the “dirty dozen” because they are down to earth and easy. These simple tricks can go a long way in making life in the classroom easier. These down and dirty tricks will have a huge payoff at the end of a long day. The teacher will be a little less stressed and tired. (Or maybe even a lot!)
Tip # 1: A Place For Everything
“A place for everything and everything in its place.” This old saying is so simple and so true. Provide clear,colorful plastic buckets and boxes for student supplies. Markers, scissors, rulers and other supplies will stay picked-up, organized and accessable in an attractive way.
Tip # 2: The Dish Drainer Idea
This clever tip turns an ordinary dish drainer into a filing system for organizing the classroom. Use it to organize materials at a learning station. Folders go in the slots for plates and supplies go where the cutlery goes. It can even be used as a filing system for the teacher’s desk top.
Tip # 3: A Shoe Bag For Storage
A hanging shoe bag isn’t just for shoes anymore. Boxes of staples, paper clips, pens and much more is easier to access here than at the bottom of a cluttered up desk drawer. Save time and aggravation. Use that bottom drawer for tea bags and snacks!
Tip # 4: Hanging File Folders
Hanging file folders are indispensable in the classroom. No more stacks and stacks of worksheets piled upon a table or on your desk. They can be tucked neatly into color-coded file folders. Color code them by subject, level or learning stations. Hanging file folders can be used for lots of other things. Just look around your own classroom. Chances are, you will find more than one way to use them for organizing the classroom.
Tip # 5: Instant Listening Center Seats
Early childhood teachers that incorporate listening stations into the class room will love this easy DIY idea. Store listening equipment (tape/CD player and tapes/CDs , head phones ) inside a milk crate. Now glue some foam padding on a block of plywood or particle board that you (or one of the dads) has cut to fit over the crate. Cover this with durable cloth and staple it down with a staple gun. The kids take off the listening station cover.Voila! It transposes into a seat. This is great for using the floor as seating space at a learning station.
Tip # 6: Designated Pencil Canisters
A half dozen pencils breaking every half hour will drive a teacher nuts. Take control of this issue by having a canister of sharpened pencils and a canister for ones that need sharpening. These are recycled coffee containers. Now pick a student helper to sharpen pencils a couple of times a day. The beginning and ending of the day are good times.
Tip # 7: Self-selected Reading Scale
Sometimes thoughts need to be organized along with things. Organize free choice reading for little ones’ minds with this clever system. Teach the students to read one page. They need to have 2-3 words on that page that they need help with in order to grow as a reader. Four words are a challenge and five words means the book is too difficult.
Tip # 8: Organizing Student Notebooks
Help individual middle and high school students stay organized. This posted display gives the contents of a well-organized binder for a course. It is a good idea to have an actual sample on display located somewhere in the classroom as an example to go by. Helping the students stay organized will free up “brain space” for learning all those difficult high school subjects.
Tip # 9: Hand-sanitizing Bathroom Passes
These coozy coolers that hold hand sanitizer make great bathroom passes for boys and girls in elementary school. No more tapping you on your shoulder interrupting your thoughts. Kids who need “to go” simply place the correct (boy or girl) coozy at their seat. The teacher can easily spot who is out of the classroom. Only two can go at once. Upon returning to their seat, they use the hand sanitizer and return the bathroom pass to the shelf for the next student to use. This tip also helps keep down germs and illness.
Tip # 10: Organized And Green
Teach the kids to be organized and green at the same time. A good designated spot like these bins will encourage saving construction paper scraps for future projects. Why recycle if you can reuse? And at the end of the day, there will be less housekeeping. The custodian will become your best friend. That is always a plus!
Tip # 11: Checking For Understanding Board
A checking- for-understanding board is a quick and dirty way of organizing students into groups who need further instruction on a concept. This checking-for- understanding board is from a math class. There is a section for each of four skills that have been taught. Each student must give an example which shows that they understand the concept on a sticky note. They place the sticky notes in the matching sections. Now all the teacher needs to do is sort by name and skill for remedial groups. How easy is that? It is an informal assessment not intended to replace for thorough mastery testing.
Tip # 12: Organizing By Day Of The Week
Organizing the classroom by the day of the week is always helpful. A Five-tiered tray can organize daily lesson plans and materials, student work and much more. Label them M, T, W, R , and F. Once again, look around your own classroom. Chances are, you will find more ways than one to organize by the day of the week.
These dirty dozen tips for teachers will leave you less stressed and with happier students. Guaranteed!
Thanksgiving is such a great holiday for teaching Early American History to kids.They love learning about the First Thanksgiving and all about Pilgrims and Indians.
There are plays, skits, crafts and Thanksgiving dinners for school and daycare groups. Thanksgiving activities are a big part of American culture.Parents look forward to what the kids made at school or daycare for Thanksgiving. These Thanksgiving activities for kids are easy to do. The materials are minimal and easy to get.This is what makes them so good for last minute crafts and snacks for school, daycare or at home.
Thanksgiving Craft and Snack Ideas
Not only are these last minute snack and craft ideas for Thanksgiving easy to prepare for, they are also multi-leveled. Use them for preschool Thanksgiving crafts. Older children can create these Thanksgiving crafts with minimal help from adults.
Last minute snack and craft ideas for Thanksgiving are great for home schooling, busy Moms, daycare and busy teachers of younger kids.
Thankful Turkey Feathers
This thankful turkey is made by painting two Styrofoam balls with brown acrylic paint. One (the head) is smaller than the other (the body). This turkey has googly eyes and a snood and wattle made of a red chenille pipe cleaner. Form an orange beak triangle. Attach the Styrofoam balls together with hot glue and add features. Attach him to a set of craft foam or heavy cardboard feet.
Child or teacher can cut paper feathers. They can color Popsicle sticks with markers for the feathers to be glued on. The feathers can then be easily stuck into the turkey’s Styrofoam body.
This Thanksgiving craft for kids can be used in different ways.
For Younger Kids:
Thankful turkey feathers make a great literacy lesson for little ones. The early childhood teacher will create the turkey craft. She will provide ‘feathers’ for individual kids on which to write things they are thankful for .
For Older Kids:
Older kids can be more involved in the creation of the turkey that holds the ‘thankful feathers.’
This is a great craft for kids to take home. Parents will love to use it for a Thanksgiving decoration. Kids will be so proud!
It is also a good group activity for the early childhood classroom. Use it as a table centerpiece for a parent-child Thanksgiving luncheon.
Thanksgiving Snack ForKids
Kids of all ages will like this healthy turkey snack. It is made with the following:
A pear sliced vertically
Red and yellow apple slices
Raisins and craisins
Cheddar cheese triangles
Slice a pear vertically and place on a plate. Add grape halves and red and yellow apple slices as shown for feathers. This turkey has a craisin snood, raisin eyes and an apple slice wattle. They are attached with tooth pick halves. Take care when serving young children to remove the tooth picks.
Cheesy beak and feet make this nutritious snack complete.
This is a great snack for those day care programs that are open almost to the last minute for the holiday.
Indian Corn Napkin Rings
Indian corn napkin rings are a great last minute project that will impress parents. Use empty toilet tissue holders and tissue paper in Indian corn colors. They make very nice napkin holders that will really add to the Thanksgiving dinner table.
For Younger Kids:
Use tissue ‘squares’ that are about 3″x 3″. This is a good activity for fine muscle development. Let the kids ball the squares with their fingers. Help them glue to a half of a toilet tissue roll. They can even practice patterning as a math skill. See how the one roll has a color pattern started. Patterning is an important math skill for young children.
For Older Kids:
Older children have greater fine motor skills and a longer attention span. They can also be directed to cut tissue ‘squares’. Use smaller squares for them.
Harvest Fruit Sun Catchers
Parents really love it when kids bring home things for holidays. It is the perfect time to brag. Many times holiday craft projects are kept as memorabilia for many years. This can be difficult for teachers of really young kids with limited skills. Harvest fruit sun catchers involve little ones for a nice looking Thanksgiving craft to send home. Skills for this project vary from easy to harder. Tissue shapes are glued to wax paper fruit cut-outs inside fruit frames of black construction paper. Use a white crayon for tracing fruit shapes.
For Younger Kids:
Prepare materials. Let them glue pre-cut tissue pieces to fruit shapes.
For Older Kids:
Older children can cut and trace their own fruit shapes from patterns. They can also cut the tissue shapes.
Harvest Fruit From Paper Strips
These apples and pumpkins can fill a basket for a table centerpiece for the day care Thanksgiving dinner. Toss them into a basket with mini pumpkins and gourds. Parents are sure to be impressed.
For Younger Kids
These students can practice cutting skills using safety scissors. Help them adjoin four strips with paper fasteners. Assist with cutting and attaching stems.
For Older Kids
Older kids can follow directions and complete this activity with minimal assistance.
Don’t send the kids home for Thanksgiving this year without a cute Thanksgiving craft that they made in school or daycare !
Trail mix has been around for awhile. It is called trail mix because it’s the perfect food for hiking, a day-long journey or traveling on vacation. It is said that California surfers ‘invented’ trail mix in the 1960s when they mixed peanuts and raisins to pack for the beach. It provided a mixture of protein and carbs that would provide plenty of energy without spoiling in the hot sun.
Trail mix was mentioned a decade earlier, though, in a novel by Jack Kerouac. Kerouac was a mid-1950’s beat generation author. The beat generation, with their far out ideas, preceded the hippie culture of the 1960s. Kerouac had the two main characters in his 1958 novel, The Dharma Bums, packing trail mix for a marathon hiking trip.
From Trail Mix to Granola
Regardless of who gets credit for the invention, trail mix grew to include additional ingredients. Gorp or good ole’ raisins and peanuts turned into granola, oats,raisins and peanuts. Sometimes a few M&Ms were thrown in.
Trail Mix and Dried Fruit
Today, trail mix recipes have been customized, but all of them include dried fruit. Dried fruit retains all of the nutrition of when it was fresh. Fruit can be dried in a few days in the sun or in a few hours in a food dehydrator.
Honey and vegetable oil can be added to turn trail mix into more of a cereal-like granola. It can be eaten alone or used as a topping for yogurt or ice cream.
Persimmons and Trail Mix
Persimmon Granola-Trail Mix
Fall is a good time to try a trail mix made with dried persimmons. There are several different types of persimmons. Some are astringent and others are non-astringent. An astringent is an agent that shrinks bodily tissues. That is why astringent persimmons make your mouth pucker unless they are so ripe they are almost rotten. The small American persimmons and the Hachiya persimmon are astringent. The American persimmon is good for making a tangy persimmon salsa that goes well with fish.
Fuyu persimmons are sweet when still firm. Unlike the American persimmon, they are not full of seeds. These two reasons make Fuyu persimmons good for drying in a food dehydrator.
Persimmons are low in calories and high in fiber and nutrition. They have antioxidants that fight free radicals. They are an excellent source of vitamins A & C, potassium, manganese, copper and folic acid.
Try the recipe in the amounts I used or tweak to your own taste.
Ingredients for Trail Mix
2 cups quick oats
1 cup dried persimmons
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
Putting the persimmon trail mix together
Toast the oats just a few minutes in a warm oven. Mix the cinnamon in with the oats. Warm the oil and honey together. Place oats in a large bowl. Now add the walnuts, and coconut and chopped dried persimmons. Stir and coat ingredients with the honey and oil mixture. Spread with spatula on a baking sheet and bake about 30 minutes in a 150-degree oven.
Fruit kabobs are a fun way for kids to eat fruit. Fruit is an extremely important part of anyone’s diet but especially for kids’ diets. Fruit kabobs make it more likely that kids will eat fruit. Anything that is fun is better!
Do you need a centerpiece idea for your Thanksgiving table? This clever rainbow fruit kabob that looks like a turkey is sure to be a winner. It is a fun project to do with the kids for Thanksgiving. Getting them involved in preparing a holiday meal is lots of fun and a good way to spend quality time together.
It’s never too soon to help kids become aware of the health benefits of fruit and other healthy foods. Getting them into the habit of eating healthy foods now is a benefit that will pay off for them later in life. Even young children can become aware of how each food helps certain parts of the body.
Use the information after the post for a quick reference. While making rainbow fruit kabob turkeys, discuss with the kids how each fruit helps us stay healthy.
An Edible Centerpiece
Guests will love this fruit kabob edible centerpiece. An easy-to-make, delicious chocolate fruit dip in a bowl is the turkey’s body. Dip in some “fruity feathers” for a tasty appetizer. The turkey’s head is a crunchy pear. His beady eyes are blueberries skewered into mini marshmallows with toothpicks. His beak is an orange wedge, his snood is the pointy end of strawberries and his wattle is a slice of crispy red apple. Attach these parts to the pear with halves of toothpicks. Give the turkey two carrot strip legs and orange wedge feet. He will be almost too cute to eat!
How To Make A Rainbow Fruit Kabob Turkey
Materials And Ingredients:
assorted fruit (grapes, kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe)
two mini marshmallows
endive (optional, for grass)
small glass bowl
chocolate dip (easy recipe below)
Assembling The Fruit Kabob Turkey
Skewer three grapes and push to about one inch from the end.
Add pineapple chunks, kiwi and strawberry slices, and cantaloupe chunks.
Top with three grapes in a smaller size for the “feather tips”.
(10-12 skewers of fruit will make a turkey with a full spread of feathers.)
Attach the turkey’s features to the pear with toothpicks. Now attach the turkey’s head to the bottom of a skewer of fruit near the middle.
Easy Chocolate Fruit Dip Recipe
This easy recipe uses only three ingredients!
Melt 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels. Mix with a package of softened cream cheese and two cups Cool Whip.
Antioxidants, copper, iron, manganese, vitamins C & K, carotenes, B-complex,
Protects against certain cancers, fights heart disease and Alzheimer’s later in life.
Antioxidants, copper, iron, manganese, vitamins C & K, carotenes, B-complex.
Protects against certain cancers, fights heart disease and Alzheimer’s later in life.
Anthocyanis, ellagic acid, quercetin, vitamin C
Helps to have a healthy brain, reduces forgetfulness, protects against cancer and heart disease.
Helps promote healthy growth and cell maintenance, prevents anemia
Rich in vitamin C, potassium, prebiotics,
Helps muscle contract, prevents “charlie horse”, helps the body fight germs and aids in the digestion of food.
Vitamins C & A, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese
Helps to have strong bones and healthy gums. Fights off colds and flu, fights against eye disease when older.
In the fall, fields and roadsides take on a beautiful rustic look. Tall grasses and weeds, whether native or invasive, begin to lose their green color. Photosynthesis in these plant species also comes to a halt allowing them to change like tree leaves. I call it ‘brownery’, and I love using it in fall arrangements.
Fall wildflowers fade gracefully as they ‘go to seed’. The goldenrod that peaks in mid-October is especially pretty as it fades from a golden yellow to a light fuzzy white. The fading happens in stages from clump to clump; they don’t all turn puffy white at the same time. This makes them fun to use in different arrangements.
Queen Anne’s Lace, a favorite summer wildflower does the same. Queen Anne can be found with her lacy head still white or turned to a withered delicate brown.
Thanksgiving Table Arrangement
A walk on an early November day can help you to create a beautiful, free and sustainable arrangement. Gather some brownery and containers. Get your arrangement just right and then spray it with Krylon crystal clear gloss. Spritz it several times, allowing each coat to dry before adding another. This will help preserve your creation. Enjoy it for awhile and then use it for the Thanksgiving table.
The brownery may be different where you live, but I hope I can inspire you to make a sustainable fall arrangement for your Thanksgiving dinner table decoration this year.
In the first arrangement, I used goldenrod gone to seed and in its last stage before a brisk autumn wind takes it completely away. Puffy wheat-like weeds and clusters of red berry-topped stalks add texture and color. Notice the fresh Queen Anne’s Lace that I found. There is not much of it left in November. A gold-colored tin vase adds to this arrangement’s rustic look.
The Last of the Goldenrod and Deep Red Berries
Sunny Golden Puffs
The next sunny arrangement incorporates goldenrod as it turns a deep brownish-gold and then to a light, puffy yellow. It looks like the down on a baby duck. I added unidentified brownery and gold-colored weeds that resemble little cat o’ nine tails. A bright yellow vase and a bow of autumn plaid helps to make this a really pretty arrangement.
The horn-of-plenty, or cornucopia is a traditional symbol of Thanksgiving. Make a special one for the table with fresh flowers combined with some natural brownery. In the last arrangement, fresh market autumn flowers are paired with dried lace cap hydrangeas and yellowed grape vine.
The fresh flowers can last longer in little floral water tubes.
Use your resources and imagination to create a dried arrangement for Fall and then have a great free and sustainable Thanksgiving table decoration.
Have a Creative Autumn! Recommended by My Creative Palette:
When I was growing up, we preserved leaves by using waxed paper and a warm iron. Now that there is clear Contac there should be no more sticky irons. The best way to preserve fall leaves is by pressing them between two sheets of Contac plastic. Use short pieces for easier managing. Place two or three leaves on a sheet sticky side up. Using your fingers, press the leaves firmly into the plastic. Cover with another sheet of Contac sticky side down and press again firmly.
When Grandma moved to the beach for her golden years, this idea came in handy. Grandma lives right by the Inter-coastal Waterway with a distant view of the Atlantic. In the fall, she enjoys watching the “snowbirds” go by in their big boats on the way to Florida for the winter months. One thing she really misses though is the variety of foliage and autumn color from further inland.
Autumn Crafts: Grandma’s Leaves
Fall Leaf Sun Catchers
mini suction cups
Grandma’s fall leaf sun catchers are real and will last and last thanks to clear Contac. After preserving leaves, cut around them with scissors. Use the hole punch to punch a hole in the top of each leaf. Now you can hang the leaf sun catchers and enjoy them on a window or perhaps on the fridge.
Fall leaf sun catchers will be a hit with guests no matter where you live!
Fall Leaf Mobile
There are dozens of ways to make mobiles. Preserve leaves and use them in any one of the ways. We used the following method and materials for Grandma’s leaf mobile.
wooden dowels of graduating thicknesses
white clear-drying glue
yarn or twine
Tie a length of fishing line of about 18 inches on each end of the thickest wooden dowel. Secure with a drop of clear-drying glue. Add the wooden dowel of medium thickness at the end of the 18 inch lengths of fishing line.
Attach two preserved leaves at each end of the top wooden dowel with about six inches of fishing line.
Add a longer length of fishing line to the middle of the top dowel, about 12 inches. Add a preserved leaf on the end.
Add a preserved leaf on each end of the middle dowel with about 18 inches of fishing line.
Attach the third and thinnest dowel a few inches below with fishing line on each side. Now attach the last tier of leaves and your fall leaf mobile is complete!